Monday, July 27, 2009

small farm field days

It has been a busy week down on Protea Farm, with guests in abundance and another weekend spent in Geoffrey. We have revamped the chook shed and provided quality multi-storey roosting and nesting facilities for which we were instantly rewarded- one of the beelzebubs starting laying again, and Snowflake the comedy silky has now laid her first 2 eggs. She has a new best friend, a ginger chicken called Nutmeg, and they are now room mates in one of the nest boxes.

At the weekend we went to the small farm field days held in Mudgee, quite a big event with stock and farm stuff on display, and Ness was like a kid in a sweet shop buying plants and investigating irrigation systems, water troughs, grass seed, and assorted small farm paraphernalia. The highlight for her and James was a fencing demonstration ( the wire and post variety, not dashing swordsmen) and she is now well versed in strainer posts, star post positioning and T-gripples. I fear that the end of this week will be the start of further gruelling fencing projects.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

landscape gardening Australia style

Looking out over our dam this morning we spotted a new sculptural feature at the water's edge, which on closer inspection turned out to be a very dead and very headless kangaroo. Not sure if the fox killed it or stumbled upon it post-mortem and had an opportunistic feed- either way we decided that it was probably not a fine and lovely garden feature for the guests, so I have dragged the remainder of the corpse into some inconspicuous undergrowth.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

alpaca vanity

Marley, the Wailers and Alan were let out yesterday to wander the grounds and seek out some green grass. The lawn we planted outside our cottage has sprouted amazingly well so we were hoping that the resident grazers would mow it for us as the ground is too soggy to use the ride-on mower.

It transpires that alpacas are curious creatures, and the Wailers follow them wherever they go, so we had a bit of trouble evicting Marley and the girls from the laundry room after they nipped indoors to lick the washing machine.

Useless Alan had a large feed of roses and a few nibbles at the lawn before he became fixated with his handsome reflection in the window of the house, and we found him on the verandah with his nose pressed against the glass chatting and posturing to his new best friend. I expect that soon they will learn how to open the sliding doors and we will find them all sitting by the fire.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

high finance

Over here somebody in their infinite wisdom decided to time the end of the financial year to coincide with the second week of Wimbledon, which is not entirely fair dinkum. The last few days have been spent getting to grips with BAS returns ( VAT to those in the UK ) and user unfriendly accounting software. Some things do not change, whatever hemisphere you choose to live in.

Business is fairly buoyant and the next 2 weeks are school holidays so we had to madly clean up after a 40th birthday group at the weekend in time for the families on holiday from Sydney.

Ness has continued the agridome theme and built a new shade house to protect the summer seedlings and some cloches to get our chillies started early.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1
More fencing planned soon- the small paddock was merely a warm up for the main event, with a massive paddock to make alpaca/sheep proof so the gang can have access to the tiny amount of grass available.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

free range alpacas

The weekend heralded a landmark when we decamped and rented out our little home to guests. There was a great deal of last minute preparation plastering and painting the newly built wall, shoving things into locked cupboards and removing all traces of us, but it went without a hitch and the guests were happy. Just as well because Banksia cottage has a flurry of bookings over the next few weeks.

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

From Protea Farm 1

Ness decided that Marley. Wailers and Alan are now sufficiently well trained to be allowed out of their paddock to graze the more lush grass around the house and protea orchard, so the gates were opened yesterday.
From Protea Farm 1

The sheep proved to be very easy to bribe back to their paddock with food, and Marley and Alan will do anything for a bucket of alpaca nuts.
From Protea Farm 1

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

wimbledon down under

Year 2 and I still cannot get used to watching Wimbledon when it is freezing cold and wintery. The stunning weather at the Championships this year has not helped. Now we have satellite tv I can watch the matches live, so I put on a warm dressing gown, throw another log onto the fire, and snuggle down on the sofa with james dog ( snoring in a disinterested fashion ). Generally I fall asleep, but I am determined to stay awake tonight to watch the Andy Murray match.

The new roof over centre court is a phenomenal structure- I thoroughly enjoyed the crowd's response to the rain the other day. Instead of the usual resounding undercurrent of grumbling there were cheers as the covers went across the court before the roof was rolled into place.

The acoustics when there is play once the roof is in position completely confuse the senses. Your eyes tell you that you are watching tennis on a grass court in a familiar outdoor arena, and your ears tell you that the echoes and amplified sounds of the ball on the strings indicate an indoor event. Play at Wimbledon until after 10 pm- fantastic! Pub quiz question of the future- what was significant about the 2009 centre court match between Safina and Mauresmo?

Tennis on a somewhat less skilled level continues in Mudgee. The Tuesday night tournament finished last week. There were a couple of weeks when rain and slippery courts stopped play ( the ladies were fearful of slipping and breaking a hip ) but I am happy to report that team 3 managed to win the event.

Unfortunately I have been rumbled, and tomorrow I start a serious competititon with the 'Thursday ladies'. They look a bit serious, many are under 70, and I am really not sure that I am going to cope with the pressure. Played a 'friendly' last week and it was not very! I am not sure whether wearing a woolly beanie hat was appropriate dress code, but I was very cold.

I will report back to see Murray get thrashed, hopefully under that incredibly sexy roof.